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Not exactly thrilled (Updated)
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, November 15, 2006

As has been said any number of times, perception is reality for many people. And you have to deal with that.

Consequently Trent Lott, no matter how little or much you think of the guy, or how silly or serious you think the incident which had him step down from power in 2002 really is, the perception among many is he's politically damaged goods.

So why is he in a Senate leadership slot? More importantly why did 25 Senators vote for him ... if it is important to change the image of Congressional Republicans that is?

Yes, I know Lott has served well in previous leadership slots and yes, I understand that Frist was a disaster, but this is the whip's post and it is Mitch McConnell who is in the leadership role, and who has been completely overshadowed by Lott's win.

Let's see, given this isn't going to change, if Lott can shut up, keep his head down and do his job without upstaging McConnell. I'm sure he'll do a fine job, and who knows perhaps redemption is possible. But there is no doubt someone else with out such a legacy could have served just as effectively. Frankly, I think most will view this as "business as usual" among Republicans. And just as frankly I don't blame them.

UPDATE (Dale): Dean Barnett nails it:
Trent Lott has won the number two job among Republicans in the Senate! Whoopee! If there’s one message that the electorate sent the Republican Party last week, it’s that we hadn’t given them enough of Trent Lott. I cannot adequately express my delight that Senate Republicans have moved with such expediency to right this egregious wrong.
 
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Trent Lott is damaged goods? Well, maybe. I’ve made my points about him before.I think is "damage" is easily labeled and over exaggeration to make political points on the part of the Democrats. A quick look at the missteps of Trent Lott, in comparison with John Kerry, is educational, as I’ve indicated previously. Whereas Trent Lott had the integrity to resign, for his missteps, John Kerry did not. Gee, big shock.

But even absent all of that, comes the idea that I’m not too tremendously sure I’m overly worried about what the republicans do for the next couple of years. Frankly, I’m not sure that it matters all that much. The press is already busy fawning over Chuckles Schumer. I suspect that the response from the press and the electorate, is going to be "Trent Who?"

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Sweet. The Democrats invite George McGovern to advise them on the war. The Republicans make Trent Lott a senate leader. President Bush gets war advice from James Baker. This seems to be a trend.

I think they all long for their youth.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
Trent Lott is damaged goods?
Perceptions Bithead, perceptions. I couldn’t have cared less about his remarks at Sen. Thurmonds BDParty, but given his propensity for porkbarrel spending, I was... unconcerned with his stepping down from leadership. (That said, I would have fought tooth and nail if the nutroots were successful in their initial attempts to force Lott to resign from Senate.)

Sen Lott would probably be just fine if the GOP was only wrestling with Dems, but they are not. Irrespective of just how good Sen. Lott may be at managing the Senate, every time he is interviewed, we all know that the MSM is going to bias the report by harping back to his RACIST... I tell you RACIST, comments.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Perceptions Bithead, perceptions. I couldn’t have cared less about his remarks at Sen. Thurmonds BDParty, but given his propensity for porkbarrel spending...
Perhaps.
And that’s YOUR perception, but the question is, is it shared by a majority of voters in his district?

Apparently not. Because the biggest perception, (As you point out) and thereby the biggest problem he has, will be his comments at Thurmond’s party.... because the press is pushing it, for the reasons I stated.









 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
"But there is no doubt someone else with out such a legacy could have served just as effectively."

I couldn’t disagree with this more. Sen. Alexander simply does not have the skill, experience, or temperament to be an effective whip. Given a choice between a damaged goods pol who is likely the most naturally adept "whip" in the Senate and whose held the job before versus a quiet, not particularly well-regarded freshman with little experience in Senate tactics...the choice is clear.

While certainly it would have been refreshing if someone other than Lott had stepped forward to help put a fresh face on the Senate GOP leadership...there’s no one in the GOP conference who fits that description and who’d do a good job.

Rather than worry about the optics of the vote, rather than focusing on how the vote might play inside the beltway among the elites, the GOP Senators did what they should have...they picked the best person for the job.

How do I know they picked the best person for the job? Just look at the vote itself. Alexander had spent 18 months lobbying for the job and as late as Monday thought that he had a possible 30 vote margin over any contender. Yet somehow, Lott, with all his baggage and no one campaigning on his behalf, managed to steal a majority of votes less than 40 hours after officially declaring for the race. If that’s not a clear sign of Lott’s effectiveness at getting, counting, and holding votes, I don’t know what is.

Alexander as whip would have been one nice news cycle where the focus was on McConnell followed by 2 years of weak floor tactics and little whipping. Lott as whip means him occasionally hogging the spotlight from McConnell (who likely doesn’t want it the way a Pelosi or DeLay or Newt does) and 2 years of ironclad party discipline (or at least as much as is possible in the Senate) and endless frustration for the Dems. They made the right choice.

Q
 
Written By: Q
URL: http://
...but the question is, is it shared by a majority of voters in his district?
Obviously not, and if he were merely a Senator, that would be the end of the story. But he’s now second chair of the GOP Senate, a leadership position, and thus a national position. And when the GOP blocks Dem legislation (as I hope they will), Lott will be a natural person for the media to question.

As McQ insinuates, for a large swath of America, perception is paramount. While the media and the beltway pundocrisy is scouring for reasons for the mid-term Dem success, it really is right under their nose. The GOP lost control because they were perceived to be inept at governance. This is probably too nuanced for the MSM to pick up upon, and even if they did, their own underlying ineptitude would prevent any substantive reporting. Thus we hear and read that it was simultaneously the war in Iraq, or the culture of corruption, or immigration, or stem cell research, or the Bush monarchy. In fact it was all, each playing to particular groups of interest, and each group of interest fed up with the GOP’s perceived ineptitude in dealing with these (and more) pet issues. A general, but diffusely motivated "throw the bums out."

So with Mel Martinez, Trent Lott, John Boehner, and (likely) Roy Blunt we see the same bums that so frustrated us, abet for many specific and personal reasons, reinstated and/or elevated to positions of leadership. It could have been a clean slate - a slate that many would have gone to the mattresses for - but no, we get same old "new AND improved," and many of the troops are just too damn tired of fighting for these old sods. Especially when they provide the MSM such a target rich environment.

Now that’s not to say that Lott, or Blunt, wont do magnificent jobs, just that the deck is stacked against them, the adversarial MSM is increasingly dealing them lousy hands, and the sirens of the right are tired of carrying water.

Could have had new leadership…
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Bains;

All this would be true, all things being equal. But, they’re not.
As I suggested elsewhere on this site, regardless of the circumstances, we’re not going to be seeing very much of Mr. Lott. The press is rather going to be spending its time lauding the virtues of Charles Schumer and company. So, as I say, I’m not sure anything the republicans do for the next two years, in terms of image, is going to matter all that much.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
"And that’s YOUR perception, but the question is, is it shared by a majority of voters in his district?"

The question should be, "is it shared by a majority of voters.".

Of course, a good deal depends on what the Republican minority does in future. Will he be a leader in the same old pork filled establishment, or will he be a leader in a fiscally responsible party?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
...we’re not going to be seeing very much of Mr. Lott.
Well, now that he’s in place, that is my hope. (I also hope his support is contingent upon his NOT seeking the top spot)

But whenever he will be in the news, so too will be his baggage. Personally, I wouldnt have put him in any leadership position.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
"And that’s YOUR perception, but the question is, is it shared by a majority of voters in his district?"
The question should be, "is it shared by a majority of voters.".
Why?

Are we now holding national elections for each Senate Seat?


But whenever he will be in the news, so too will be his baggage. Personally, I wouldnt have put him in any leadership position.
I certainly understand the point.

However I will confess to a certain amount of umbrage at so many being worried about "baggage". After all, who is worried about such matters? The democrats alone..., who wouldn’t be voting for him anyway. What have we gained by placating these?

Look; At some point we’re going to have to recognize that the democrats are going to be bitching about republicans, not because of any ’baggage’, but in the end, simply because they’re not Democrats.

I’ve pointed out, rather loudly the difference in reaction between John Kerry and Trent Lott to each’s mis-steps.... not only reactions by each individual, but by the party behind them. Given what Kerry got away with...(and he’s hardly the only example of such... Murtha, Hastings, Johnson, etc would be other examples to start us out down an all too long list) ... ONe MUST come to the logical conclusion that the ’baggage’ is merely a prop to be used to eliminate a political opponent. I have to wonder, in all candor if giving in to such pressures isn’t in the end, counter productive.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
"Why?"

Because those of us in other states may look at the leadership, as some evidently did in this recent election, and say to ourselves "if this is what the party stands for, I want out". If, for example, David Duke had won in La. and had been supported by the party, would you still say it shouldn’t concern anyone outside La.? Do you have any objections to Nancy Pelosi, or think she represents the attitudes or beliefs of her party? Should that concern anyone outside Ca.? Does the choice of Alcee Hastings or John Murtha for leadership positions tell us anything? When someone is in a leadership position, they represent more than their constituents.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The democrats alone..., who wouldn’t be voting for him anyway. What have we gained by placating these?
Look; At some point we’re going to have to recognize that the democrats are going to be bitching about republicans, not because of any ’baggage’, but in the end, simply because they’re not Democrats.
NO! I’ve been bitching about Lotts pork-barreling since 2000, the Teds since they were elected, and Bobby Byrd’s since he was just a Kleagle hopeful. (well not really).
The point is, bithead, Lott doesn’t have solid grass roots support from his own party. He didnt have it when he made his ill-advised but perfectly understandable comments - elsewise we wouldn’t have been subjected to the abysmal Frist leadership. Lott’s damaged goods within the party. (25-24 vote???)
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
ONe MUST come to the logical conclusion that the ’baggage’ is merely a prop...
As recently evidenced by Delay and Foley’s resignation, the GOP is held to a higher standard. The MSM tries their damndest to hide this fact, but when all is said and done, it is the conservative base, and not the MSM that enforces acceptable political morality. The conservative base does not say "aw shucks, that page was nearly 18, and the father figure that was f_cking him was holding the party line every where else, so damnit, lets cheer him on, and hope he gets elected five more times."

My standards bithead, not the MSM’s. I dont like Lott. Hopefully your right though, and he won’t become news.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
NO! I’ve been bitching about Lotts pork-barreling since 2000, the Teds since they were elected, and Bobby Byrd’s since he was just a Kleagle hopeful. (well not really).
The point is, bithead, Lott doesn’t have solid grass roots support from his own party. He didnt have it when he made his ill-advised but perfectly understandable comments - elsewise we wouldn’t have been subjected to the abysmal Frist leadership. Lott’s damaged goods within the party. (25-24 vote???)
I’m not going to suggest that Trent Lott has the support of republican party rank and file. But... don’t make the mistake of looking at the close vote as being any indication of what’s going on out here and the rank and file of The Republican Party. Even a limited reading of Blogdom will give you a taste of the disconnect, there.

Trent Lott has a number of qualifications, particularly with regards to the mechanics involved in hurting congressional votes. That’s his job. Alexander, the only other viable candidate for the task...(At least in terms of votes) on the other hand has shown absolutely no qualifications for the task. Given the choice of the two all take the one that has the experience in the mechanics involved.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Alexander, the only other viable candidate for the task...(At least in terms of votes) on the other hand has shown absolutely no qualifications for the task.
I’d revise to "little qualification", but otherwise a valid point. I’m railing as much against the GOP for allowing within its leadership pool such abysmal candidates as I am against Lott. But given his vindictive statements on Friday, I’m even more convinced he was the wrong choice.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://

 
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